Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis – Things to Look For
What is plantar fascia?
Plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue at the bottom of your foot which attaches your heel bone to your toes. It appears to be a sequence of large rubber bands which seem quite stretchy. However, it is made up of collagen (a firm protein) and is, therefore, not elastic. When too much pressure is exerted on this tissue, it becomes inflamed and swollen. The result is severe heel pain. This condition is what is known as plantar fasciitis.
This injury is typically found in people who are avid runners because one of the leading causes of plantar fasciitis is the type of shoes being worn. Wearing worn out running shoes, especially pairs which lack proper support, results in stress onto the connective tissue. Nowadays, running shoes for plantar fasciitis have been easily made available at the consumers’ disposal by several manufacturers. Switching your regular pair to shoes which have been specially designed for your foot condition can help you manage it.
This foot injury is such that your first step in the morning can bring forth a stabbing sensation around the heel of the foot. After a while, as your feet get used to walking and doing the daily chores, the pain reduces. However, the ache can reoccur if you stand on your feet all day long or after you get up from spending a good amount of time sitting in one place.
While running for long periods, you may not feel the pain since the feet are used to the constant pressure. However, excessive stress and pronation will still continue to damage your feet, even if you cannot feel it at the moment. Therefore, it is vital that you wear a pair of shoes which have been made to suit your plantar fasciitis-inflicted feet.
Shoe selection in this area, however, happens to be entirely subjective. Although there are several shoes in the market which claim to be perfect for people with plantar fasciitis, there is practically no quality research on the topic of which shoe would be ideal for the condition. Therefore, while there may be certain criteria you may have to look for in a good pair of shoes, the decision also depends on how comfortable you are with the choice you make. It also depends on what you use your shoe for (whether you use it more for walking or running) and how flat or uplifted your feet are.
What to look for in running shoes for plantar fasciitis?
First of all, the shoe you select must help ease your ache. But how will that occur? Get yourself a proper diagnosis from the doctor and learn about what exactly brings about plantar fasciitis in your foot. This is because there isn’t just one cause for the injury, so knowing what is causing you so much pain can help you select a pair of shoes which can eliminate that cause.
The primary purpose of the shoes for plantar fasciitis is to reduce the load on the fascia tissue. One reason for this stress can be traced to pressure on the Achilles tendon. If you happen to be one of the individuals who face such pressure, you should look for a shoe which helps reduce the pressure on the Achilles tendon. According to research, shoes with a raised heel assist in resolving this problem. Therefore, the solution is to purchase a shoe with at least a 10-millimeter heel-to-toe drop. During running when the larger toe dorsiflexes, a high-heel shoe would reduce the bending to an extent that it would minimize the stress on the Achilles tendon and subsequently, the plantar fascia tissue.
Often the load on the fascia band of tissue tightens when your arch is not well supported. Therefore, you should look for a shoe with a middle section which incorporates a firm yet cushioned arch support. The key to the ideal middle section is a balance between two crucial characteristics: rigidity and cushiness. A good shoe will balance the firmness and softness of the support in the middle. Excessively firm mid-sections can be painful rather than soothing, which brings us back to the subjective comfortability point when purchasing a pair of running shoes.
Moreover, you should look for a shoe with a relatively firm toe section. This is essential because if the toe section is a bit inflexible, it will prevent the toes from dorsiflexing too much and subsequently, placing excessive stress on the tissue at your heel.
Furthermore, another criterion to check off your list when buying shoes for plantar fasciitis revolves around the shock absorption mechanism. A shoe which has such a mechanism in place will spread the force felt when the heel is struck to the ground. This means that while running, all parts of your feet will stay safe and protected from the full impact of the force with which your feet hit the ground.
In addition, purchasing a shoe which originates from a credible manufacturer would be a plus point. A strong name in the industry means that the shoe produced by the manufacturer would be of good quality and therefore, would perform well unlike a poor quality shoe which might even worsen your foot condition.
Also, before making up your mind and selecting the shoe, it is recommended that you search for reviews on the shoe from other people who have plantar fasciitis. Knowing the experience of other individuals with the same problem offers perspective and will help you make the right choice for yourself.
In conclusion, selecting the right shoe for yourself is up to you. Of course, when it comes to plantar fasciitis, the options you have are limited to the category of running shoes. However, you must remember that your health should be your priority. Therefore, despite your desire to purchase regular shoes, if you happen to have plantar fasciitis, it is advisable that you buy comfortable running shoes made to ease your ache.